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Shipper warns of over-compensation from container ship ordering freeze

Shipper warns of over-compensation from container ship ordering freeze
The changes caused by the new alliances and their impact on the fleet situation could have a dramatic effect on the container line business in a few years' time.

Speaking to Seatrade Maritime News Dachser Far East md Edoardo Podesta said: "I really wonder if by say 2020 to 2022 we will be in an opposite situation with a deficit of tonnage."

The current situation is one of tremendous volatility, Podesta noted and contrary to widespread belief, shippers are not particularly happy that rates can drop suddenly.

"The lesson to shipowners is to stop this nonsense of deploying ships when they are not needed and try to stabilise prices," he reiterated. However as a corollary to that, Podesta also acknowledged that by doing exactly this, a dramatic swing in the opposite direction could occur in future.

He noted that with the current rate of scrapping and the drop off in new orders there could be a shortage of steel on the water which would create volatility in the opposite direction from what it is now.

Podesta also pointed out that the changing fleet profile will have an effect on the niche trades in the north-south trade lanes. "You are seeing the cascading effect with bigger and bigger ships deployed to these trades, not because of demand but simply because bigger ships are coming into the Asia-Europe trades and the lines needed to redeploy them," he said

Podesta also opined that many vessels in the 3,000 teu to 5,000 teu range may disappear because of scrapping and with the decline into obsolescence of the panamax class, trades that would be better served with these smaller ships would be flooded with up to 10,000 teu vessels which will inject excessive capacity.

"For sure there will be an imbalance because it's not just a mismatch of size but also of matching the right growth in the right segments," Podesta said.

He suggested that in the next three to four years the market will be very heavy at the top with big modern ships of 14,000 teu and above. As bigger ships cascade into the smaller north-south trades, this could give rise to a big overcapacity problem.

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